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Second Draft of "Attack my argument: morality of eating meat"

 
 
L1n1o
 
Reply Sat 12 May, 2012 10:55 pm
Thank you everyone for your input and with such input I have constructed an edited version.

Definitions/ Clarification:
**end in itself/ themself = A purpose or goal desired for its own sake (rather than to attain something else)
** means to an end = any action where the sole purpose of is to achieve something else


1. Only rational beings conceive morality, because morality is acting on moral law, and acting on such law requires a higher order of thinking and rationalization, which is absent in almost all nonhumans.
2. Human rights are not dependent of biological factor, and if it were so, and that rights were dependent on the most simple biological factor – alive, and sentient – then every living entity from bacteria to plants to humans will be protected by the laws that apply to humans such as the Constitution, if such entities were in America.
3. Humans are members of a class of things that are capable of rationality and reason, in order to partake in joint responsibility; therefore, human rights are simply the capacity or the possible potential for a mutual and joint responsibility.
4. Moral duties imply human-rights, and such rights imply reasonable expectations.
5. An infringement of joint mutual responsibility leads to accountability whether it is criminal liability or civil liability.
6. Nonhumans do not have human rights, nor are they held accountable for infringing the rights of humans (ex: bear mauling a man) because nonhumans do not have the mental capacity to identify and respect mutual responsibility.
7. If raising up and killing nonhumans for food is morally wrong, then it implies that nonhumans do have human rights, and humans must have moral duties that apply to humans (inter-human moral) towards nonhumans.
8. From premise 1 and premise 3 and premise 6, nonhumans do not have human rights and humans do not have any inter-human moral duties towards nonhumans.
9. Then, since humans do not have any moral duties towards nonhumans, nonhumans do not have a right to only be used only for an end in them self.
10. Therefore, nonhumans can be used for a means to an end, such as for the consumption to attain nutrition, and vitality for the body, similar to the consumption of plants.
11. Conclusively, it is not morally wrong to kill and eat nonhumans, who are not conscious of their existence therefore do not have dignity, for consumption.

Of the premises, premise 9 has the potential to be the most controversial, and because such mentioned premise is very integral to the argument as a whole, such premise will be further supported and clarified.

Treating a human as a mere object violates the dignity that the human being possess, and since nonhumans animals, specifically farm animals used for consumption, do not have dignity, no violation is committed in treating the animals as a means to an end.
nonhuman farm animals do not have dignity. This is contrary to human beings who have dignity, and, therefore, must be treated as an end in itself and not a means to an end. Humans have dignity, in that, a human has the rational mind, a capacity which is not observable in most non humans which allows humans to govern themselves by autonomous rational choice.

Although we do not have direct duties towards non human animals, there are indirect duties that humans must hold. For examples, humans have indirect duties towards earth, in that, to keep the planet from being saturated with pollution; similarly, just because earth is an inanimate object with no dignity, it does not mean that destructive actions is morally justifiable towards objects and beings without dignity. Similarly, humans have an indirect duty to animal which reflects, but not the same, as duties to a person. Such indirect duties include not torturing the animals for pleasure or for curiosity case, such as cruel medical experiments.

Then you might ask If then we are to treat animals in a way that reflects the duties to a person, well since we have a moral obligation to not kill a human person, should we not reflect such duty to the animal?

But remember, the correlation between direct and indirect duties is not geometrically equal or symmetrical. The key difference is that nonhuman animals can be used as means to an end because such nonhumans are not entitled to human rights.
Throughout the essay, when referring an attribute to nonhumans, the term ‘most’ is used for precisions sake, because exceptional nonhumans such as guerillas exhibit societal behavior, are conscious of their existence, as well as feel shame, and exhibit a sense of duty.

by L_n_o // K_l_m_a_n_ // RVC
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Type: Question • Score: 1 • Views: 2,966 • Replies: 20
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fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 May, 2012 12:41 am
@L1n1o,
You are still missing the point that there is a strong argument for morality to be founded on empathy. That empathy can encompass non-humans and even "animate life in general". Since empathy is flexible according to historical social context and is a function of perceived social distance, then so is "morality". We have shifting empathic" in groups" and "out groups" to which we exhibit differential moral behaviour. The concept of "human rights" or "animal rights" is a quasi-religious de facto myth, and logical analysis based on such axioms is vacuous. The anecdotal evidence suggests that committed "vegetarian" would even eat human flesh if faced with dire starvation.
L1n1o
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 May, 2012 12:38 pm
@fresco,
I feel as if morality should be independent of empathy or feelings, because if it is not, problems will arise. Letting morality be entirely separated form emotions is the only way to be fair. For example if someone murdered your friend, and you let your emotions take over you and in that emotional wreck, you kill all of the family of the person who killed your friend.

As for human rights, it is related to morality because without humans on the face of earth, there will not be a concept of morality, so it is entirely dependent of humans. When people say 'animals rights' well they are being not accurate. Animals don't have rights, however, humans have indirect duties to them, because it reflects the morality between humans. 'Animal rights' is basically indirect duties. Human rights stem from the moral code of treating humans as an end in itself.

Nonhuman farm animals don't have dignity, therefore isn't treating them as a means to end, not even hurting their dignity?
Because they don't even have dignity to begin with, furthermore, they are not even conscious of their existence.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 May, 2012 01:40 pm
@L1n1o,
Justifying the killing of others (animals or humans) by defining them in particular ways (e.g., with or without souls or with or without "dignity") is an old trick. Frankly, I cannot eat the meat of animals who have been given names and other forms of social identity (e.g. pets) because they have been anthropomorphized to the extent of stimulating empathy.
failures art
 
  2  
Reply Sun 13 May, 2012 02:00 pm
I don't eat meat. There are many reasons. I don't see why I need to justify a position of not participating in an act that is unnecessary. Further, if I do not assume a position of entitlement, I don't see how I can justify the mercenary suffering of another being.

We do not eat meat out of need, but out of desire. I have no desire to eat meat.

Edit: More importantly, when I did eat meat, and desired it, concluding that I should not continue the practice was largely built on prioritization. No desire of my own was great enough for the cost of suffering. Once I discontinued the practice, I realized my desires were less about the actual substance of meat itself, but the cultural associations, and the ways we communicate and bond over meals.

A
R
T
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 May, 2012 02:40 pm
@L1n1o,
Quote:
I feel as if morality should be independent of empathy or feelings
That is why we have codified laws.
Quote:
because if it is not, problems will arise.

They do all the time !

Quote:
As for human rights, it is related to morality because without humans on the face of earth, there will not be a concept of morality,
(Trivially, note that without humans there would be no "concepts" of any kind)!

All you are saying is that a unified "brotherhood of man" code would be a good idea. That's a fine utopian ideal for rich Westerners like us to contemplate during our privileged luxury of leisure time ! But continuous global conflicts over limited resources and differing ideologies seem to be "the reality".!

In short, when times are good, we can extend our empathic boundary, and be magnanimous with our "morality". In times of war the boundaries contract. we justify our killing of enemies and suspend our normal laws. Each of us, if we observe our internal conversations, actually operates as a committee of differing and shifting empathies and allegiences, and "moral dilemmas" constitute dissonance amongst our committee members. Such is the nature of man who seeks to reduce such dissonance ...i.e. live with himself ...hence the quest to reduce that burden by an attempt to objectify or codify "morality" by either secular laws or "divine edicts". Your "thesis" is just one more variety of attempt in the tradition of philosophical rationalism (e.g/Kant)


JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 May, 2012 04:17 pm
@fresco,
Bingo!
0 Replies
 
L1n1o
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 May, 2012 06:36 pm
@JLNobody,
Soul, well you can't prove souls exist, even in humans. All we know, what a soul could be is just the electrical activity in the body.

As for dignity, you can simply see if an animal is conscious of itself using a mirror test. Consciousness leads to a sense of dignity.

If you are not violating someone's dignity then there is no point in treating them as an end in themselves, you can treat them as means to an end, because no dignity is violated.
Farm animals aren't conscious of their existence therefore has no dignity.
L1n1o
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 May, 2012 06:42 pm
@fresco,
Is empathy necessary for morality?

If it is, then one is indirectly saying that morality is relative to the individual. This is a problem.

It's possible to feel empathic understanding and use it malevolently, but to put empathy in the same jar as morality will create chaos and destruction, because we all know how varied human opinions are.
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 May, 2012 09:12 pm


You don't have to watch the whole thing, but Harris touches on the role of empathy (specifically the understanding that neural complexity has a relationship to the ability to experience pain) when speaking to moral obligations.

A
R
T
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 May, 2012 09:40 pm
@L1n1o,
You speak of morality only as a social institution, a set of rules. Empathy has to do with kindness. We wish well-being for those with whom we empathize. That means we are acting toward them with love, kindness, and compassion, much more than just compliance.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 May, 2012 09:52 pm
@L1n1o,
L1n1o wrote:

Soul, well you can't prove souls exist, even in humans. All we know, what a soul could be is just the electrical activity in the body.


And if it is just the electrical activity, does that mean it doesn't exist?
L1n1o
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 May, 2012 11:28 pm
@roger,
I didn't say it did not exist, I just said it hard to prove a soul exists, so until there is a way, no one will ever know for fact.
0 Replies
 
L1n1o
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 May, 2012 11:39 pm
@failures art,
You can hold the view that empathy is necessary for making moral judgement, or even necessary for moral development and moral conduct, but I hypothesize that such is false. We can have moral systems without empathy. The question to ask is if, by nature, we humans lacked empathy completely, will our moral systems differ? I hypothesize, No it will not.
I see empathy as a kind of perception but it does not perceive morality, but others’ emotions, and is inextricably tied to feeling itself.
Empathy not a rational response, but intuitive. If you had to think about it, then it wouldn't be empathy.

I will give you a good analogy as to why empathy fails at being the source of morality.
Say if you had a lover, who you are highly empathetic towards. Now such a lover is fastened to a railroad by an evil man, and in a split parallel path there are five unknown youth who are tied up as well. Then the evil man places you at the junction with a switch to divert the train to either your lover or the five unknown youth (far enough to avoid you saving anyone), and gives you 5 seconds to choose before a train comes crashing down at high velocity and obliterates anything in its path. In choosing you lover from empathy, did you make the correct moral choice?

Empathy, it seems, leads to unnecessary personal bias.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 May, 2012 11:57 pm
@L1n1o,
Ah !...the old moral dilemma of "the few versus the many" beloved of philosophers which has nothing to do with "real life" ! Only war commanders actually play that game with their concept of "acceptable losses", but that is merely the committee member taking the chair with his commander's hat invoking martial law and suspending "debate".

L1n1o
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 May, 2012 11:58 pm
@roger,
Sorry, what I meant was it is hard to prove, not can't prove, it didn't get into writing, as I wanted it to come out. It also depends on how you define soul to be, I suppose.
0 Replies
 
L1n1o
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 May, 2012 04:54 pm
@fresco,
Brutal analogy, surely, I had no intention to come out as a "war commander" to suspend debate. I only wished to convey the message of the repercussions in relying on emotions and empathy rather than rationality on moral matters. When the moral sense is stagnated by the so called empathy and emotion, it becomes vulnerable to illusions, similar to our other senses. Simply put, we see what we want to see.
Ultimately, my main motive and hopes were that my input would lead to further discussions on the matter.

I sincerely apologize to anyone, if it seemed to you that I advanced in a despot like manner.
north
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 May, 2012 05:16 pm
@L1n1o,
L1n1o wrote:

Brutal analogy, surely, I had no intention to come out as a "war commander" to suspend debate. I only wished to convey the message of the repercussions in relying on emotions and empathy rather than rationality on moral matters. When the moral sense is stagnated by the so called empathy and emotion, it becomes vulnerable to illusions, similar to our other senses. Simply put, we see what we want to see.
Ultimately, my main motive and hopes were that my input would lead to further discussions on the matter.

I sincerely apologize to anyone, if it seemed to you that I advanced in a despot like manner.



kind of a strange way to go about it

I mean you want really rational morality
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2012 06:02 am
the only place where eating meat is even debatable is in the wealthier countries where people can afford to be choosy over what they have.
In that sense, morality is based on pocket book and not human survival.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2012 09:20 am
@shewolfnm,
...generally speaking doing choices when we are able to do so is not a sin on itself...and although the over population of earth might serve as an argument for temporary meat abstinence certainly it is not a final timeless moral argument on its own...
0 Replies
 
 

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